Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whose Side Are They On?

Just when you start to wonder how it is that Israel can get away with doing some of the things it does, you get a little reminder. A couple of days ago Canada's still Conservative government blamed Hamas for the deaths (read murder) of at least 40 at a UN school in Gaza. Yep, that's right, you can read it right here. I really don't understand the way some people think, but at least this kind of propaganda helps explain why the Israelis are still able to muster enough international support to continue their genocidal killings. What seems to make matters worse is the ability that the Israeli state has to continually play the holocaust sympathy card in order to deflect honest criticism of their tactics. Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, was quoted as saying, "Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp", and for calling a spade a spade, the automatic knee jerk reaction is to cry foul for using language that recalls the atrocities committed against the Jews in WWII. Well, um, that's the point, Israel exists today because of those same atrocities, and now (ok, not now, but awhile ago) the state that was created out of sympathy has become oppressor.

In this bizarro world is it any wonder that the world stands by and watches the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians, including women and children. When the Catholic church is the most vocal defender of the Palestinians being massacred in Gaza you know they're in trouble. Why is it that in the more than 60 years since the creation of the nation of Israel the Palestinians still have no international rights? Well, the finger can't be pointed exclusively at the Israelis or even the US, in fact a large part of the problem lies at the feet of the Arab states and the Palestinian leadership.

UN Resolution 181 called for the partition of British ruled Palestine into two, a Jewish state and an Arab state. It passed by a vote of 33 to 13 with 10 abstentions. From the get go, the Arab and Muslim countries said no to a Palestinian state as Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen were among the 13 'no' votes. Of course the Arab states went a step further than simply voting no to voice their disapproval, they attacked the newborn Israeli state the day after independence, May 17th, 1947 and were handed their first of to be many defeats by the Israeli army. Fast forward to October of 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton administration the Palestinians are once again offered nationhood only to once again refuse, ostensibly over the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return.

So, what of the 'Palestinians' who we're denied nationhood? Back in 1947 they were urged to leave the area by the Arab powers so that they wouldn't be caught in the crossfire of war; they would be able to return to their homes once the new Jewish nation had been destroyed. Alas, it didn't work out that way. It's estimated that from 540,000 to 720,000 Arabs fled their homes, many simply to the eastern portion of the country controlled by Jordan and many to other Arab nations. To this day, none of the diaspora that fled at the Arab nations urging has been granted citizenship by these same countries. Politically motivated maneuvering that reflects these same governments actions today has played a large role in keeping the Palestinians stateless and without any citizenship.

Again today, the Arab states are playing the self-interest card instead of doing anything to help their brethren in Gaza. An excellent article can be found here that helps explain the fears that many Arab nations have regarding Hamas. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria all have reasons for fearing Hamas and their governments actions have pushed Hamas into the arms of the only country willing to help, Iran. Sunni Hamas in bed with Shiite Iran has led to a situation of which Egypt's Hosni Mubarek said, “has led to Egypt, in practice, having a border with Iran.”

The bottom line is that it's in the interests of many parties, including Arab leaders, for the Israelis to take out Hamas. Of course there is a different story on the Arab street and as the divide between public opinion and government action continues to widen, things may reach a breaking point in countries like Egypt as people become more and more disillusioned with their governments. There's no question that Israel's actions are seeding more rage across the Muslim world, however it is the leaders of many of the Muslim states that may have to pay the price. The latest news is of an escalation in the Israeli offensive; it seems as though the lesson will never be learned, the more force you use, the more extremists you create.


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Good evening Carlo